Smart TVs may have taken away some of the lustre of a home multimedia server, but if you’re serious about your movie nights, nothing beats a dedicated NAS.
Qnap is hoping to lure such users with its latest release, the dual-bay HS-264. Measuring just 41.3mm (H) x 302mm (W) x 220 mm (D) in size, the svelte unit is designed to blend effortlessly into an AV environment and features just a solitary status indicator on the front. Behind said panel resides an IR receiver, but Qnap misses a trick by not including a remote as part of the package.
What you do get is pretty capable hardware throughout. Powering the HS-264 is a quad-core Intel Celeron N5105 processor complete with onboard UHD graphics and a top speed of 2.9GHz. The CPU is joined by 8GB of memory, which sadly can’t be expanded, and two 2.5/3.5in SATA 6Gbps storage bays easily accessed by removing the front panel.
A fanless design contributes to the ‘Silent NAS’ moniker, though of course you would need to adopt SSDs in order to retain such credentials. Clunky HDDs would be audible, and without a dedicated fan, we’d be reticent to install mechanical drives. Note also that the compact form factor results in an external 60W power supply.
Positioned as an ‘integrated home media entertainment center,’ the HS-264 supports Plex transcoding and direct playback, but there’s much more to it than that. Running the latest QTS 5.0 operating system, the Qnap NAS can serve as a central storage repository, backup location or even a Linux PC.
Connectivity is well catered for through dual HDMI 2.0 outputs, supporting up to a 4K60 resolution, as well as a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and dual 2.5GbE network ports. It’s good to see Qnap looking beyond basic Gigabit Ethernet, and switch support permitting, the 2.5GbE can be combined for 5Gbps throughput.
“The new HS-264 continues the lineage of QNAP’s unique silent and fanless NAS series, which combines the strengths of a traditional NAS with a modern set-top box design” said Stanley Huang, Qnap product manager.
“With network streaming and dual HDMI output, multimedia can be enjoyed throughout the house on various devices in 4K quality. An assortment of rich apps for multimedia, backup and storage are also available, making the HS-264 an incredible choice for home users.”
An enticing prospect, but as tends to be the case with niche NAS solutions, pricing could be a stumbling block. At the time of writing, the HS-264 is available for $599 in a diskless configuration and comes backed by a two-year warranty.
“Silent and lightweight home NAS for multimedia playback and streaming with dual HDMI 2.0 4K output.”
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